The Tesla Model 3 electric sedan has been awarded the highest rating ever under the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) latest testing protocols, setting a new benchmark for vehicle safety in Europe.
Assessed under the NCAP safety ratings‘ four categories, the Tesla Model 3 was awarded 5 out of 5 possible stars in every category, achieving the highest safety rating out of all cars tested by NCAP.
With a top safety rating in the USA already earned by the all-electric sedan from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in October 2018, the new rating further demonstrates the Model 3’s ability to make driving safer.
Topping the list for safety assist features with a score of 94 per cent, the Tesla Model 3 benefits from the same safety features that apply to all Tesla vehicles and which are frequently updated thanks to over-the-air software issued by the carmaker.
In a statement released by Euro NCAP, Tesla’s best-selling electric sedan is praised as the “best yet” in its “Safety Assist” category:
The Tesla Model 3 made a strong debut with a perfect score in the frontal offset deformable barrier crash test, a mainstay of Euro NCAP’s assessment since its inception in 1997.
Its performance in the Safety Assist tests particularly impressed, thanks to its superb driver assistance systems like lane support, speed assist and autonomous emergency braking. The Tesla’s 94 percent score in 2019 Safety Assist tests is the best yet under Euro NCAP’s most recent protocol.
Under the “Safety Assist” category, the Model 3 demonstrated its ability to actively assist in avoiding crashes and injuries as well as preventing drivers from drifting out of lanes.
With a score of 96 per cent in the “Adult Occupant” category and a score of 86 per cent in the “Child Occupant” category, the Tesla comes in at #5 in both categories for family vehicles, and is only bested by the Toyota Rav4 hybrid in the latter class out of all electrified vehicles.
The all-electric vehicle, as with the Model S and Model X, uses a suite of sensors including eight cameras to give 360 degrees of vision around the vehicle with up to 250 metres forward range.
It also uses ultrasonic sensors to detect objects, and a forward-facing radar that helps the car to assess data in conditions with poor visibility such as heavy rain, dust and fog.
While the Model 3’s poorest score was in the “Vulnerable Road Users” category (it scored just 74 per cent, giving it 11th place overall for 2019 models tested), Tesla impressed in a statement to the press that the massive amount of data collected through the process helps to improve safety features on an ongoing basis.
Tesla’s engineers developed each active safety feature evaluated by Euro NCAP by leveraging the real-world data collected from the sensor suite of every Tesla vehicle made since October 2016, coupled with data from billions of inputs from actual drivers to help us understand how drivers behave in dynamic scenarios.
This data gives us a more precise understanding of the environment around our cars and the different ways that accidents happen, allowing us to more accurately predict when an accident is likely to occur and deploy automated technology to mitigate or avoid it.
The sensors form the backbone of Tesla’s driver assist tech Autopilot, which has copped some criticism in the media due to a handful of crashes such as a Florida incident that occurred in March when a Model 3 was involved in a fatal crash with a tractor.
It was later confirmed in a preliminary investigation that Autopilot was engaged at the time of the crash, and while it is understood further investigation is still underway, similar incidents prompted the carmaker to start reporting on Autopilot safety in late 2018.
According to a statement made by the company at the time, the number of crashes involving Autopilot is far below the national average for the USA.
“In the 1st quarter, we registered one accident for every 2.87 million miles driven in which drivers had Autopilot engaged,” the automaker said in a post.
“For those driving without Autopilot, we registered one accident for every 1.76 million miles driven. By comparison, NHTSA’s most recent data shows that in the United States there is an automobile crash every 436,000 miles.
In addition to safety sensors, the structural integrity and occupant restraint systems also contributed to the top safety test for the vehicle.
Full results for the Tesla Model 3 Euro NCAP safety can be accessed here, while a video of the testing can be viewed below:
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.